What’s a page builder?
So what is a page builder? Is it a theme? No. Is it a plugin? Yes, but… A WordPress page builder is a plugin that can work independently of your WordPress theme, although many themes also include support for page builders. All clear now, right? Let’s dive deeper into one WordPress page builder from Billy, Justin, & Robby at FastLine Media, called Beaver Builder.
I’ve seen this myself at times. While WordPress gives clients an incredible way to manage and edit their content, often the design and development end up being intertwined with the content in such a way that it becomes all too easy for the client to break the design. If we do all we can to prevent this, the design elements are so far removed from the admin interface that it’s nearly impossible for the client to make minor changes without learning to code.
Beaver Builder is a solution to this dilemma and it’s being very well received. While they only recently celebrated Beaver Builder’s first “birthday”, almost from it’s infancy it was receiving great reviews on sites like WP Mayor, (it was called Fastline Page Builder back then).
Built for developers and agencies
One of favorite aspects of Beaver Builder is that it is clearly built for developers. The first way this is obvious is in their pricing and how every tier includes unlimited websites. The next is in their agency version that includes complete white labeling. Agencies can associate the builder to their own brand, enhancing the client experience and solidifying that client/developer relationship.
Furthermore, developers have the freedom to extend Beaver Builder through widgets, or by using their custom module boilerplate. No matter how great a WordPress plugin is, it has to be extendable or it doesn’t make it into our toolkit long term.
Plays Nice with Dynamik for Genesis
If you’ve been reading my blog posts for very long, you know I’m a huge fan of Dynamik for Genesis. When I learned of a friendly relationship between the Beaver Builder guys and Dynamik, I had to ask Eric Hamm of Cobalt Apps, creator of Dynamik, how this relationship–with what would seem like a direct competitor–came to be. “It started with several of our members using Beaver Builder with Dynamik and really liking the combo,” said Eric. “You can even see one of our members created a site all about the combo, dynamikbeaver.com.”
So let’s dive into the Q&A by talking to one of Beaver Builder’s creators, Billy Young.
Three Questions with Billy Young
INM: Tell me more about how Beaver Builder came out of work Fastline Media was doing for clients.
Billy: Beaver Builder was conceived from simply a need to ‘scratch our own itch’. We needed an efficient way of creating client websites, period. WordPress being our go-to platform, we found several theme solutions out there that made creating a site from the ground up easier for us, but not easier to work with from the client perspective unfortunately. Almost all of our clients desired an editable website solution that was quick, clean, and mobile friendly.
As many of you know, the theme options out there (a-hem, ThemeForest), solve that most primitive need, but were definitely not the answer we wanted. We then set out to create our own page builder product (and complementing theme) that would ultimately help us in our workflow as well as offer a great editing experience for our clients.
INM: What were you most surprised by as the business evolved to include a product?
Billy: Honestly, how completely different it is running a product based business as opposed to a service based business. The two are completely different animals, yet they complement each other as Beaver Builder was built to address the needs of web developers. The WordPress product space continues to surprise us and we’re super grateful to be a part of it!
INM: What’s on the horizon for Beaver Builder?
Billy: Well, for starters, we have a pretty neat design contest going on right now through the month of April for anyone interested in doing some designing with Beaver Builder. We’re offering a WP Mega Prize Pack which includes all kinds of goodies from industry leaders in the space. The goal of the design contest being one of the biggest parts of Beaver Builder customers love – page templates. We’re hoping to gain inspiration/designs to further develop our page template offering to existing and new users.
In terms of our roadmap this year, we do have quite a bit planned and are always pretty transparent about our plans in our blog. Some bigger pieces include a conversion module in the upcoming months, a complete overhaul of the page template system over the summer and perhaps a marketplace come fall/winter. Of course, we always manage to squeeze in smaller features release to release and have really come to rely on our User Voice Forum for customer feedback there.
INM: I know we’re about six hours apart, but when are we getting together for a day of mountain biking?
Billy: Despite the distance, you name the day, we’ll make it happen! However, I think we all need to get back to a bit of uphill training so you don’t smoke us up the hill! =)
INM: Five minutes into a ride with me and, I promise, you won’t be worried about me smoking you! We’ll have to set a date for this summer. People from the bay area who ride our epic trails in central Oregon tend to move here shortly after, so maybe we should meet in the middle!